IPSWICH will finally have a presence in the Brisbane grade cricket scene thanks to a watershed merger between the Ipswich and West Moreton Cricket Association and the Beenleigh/Logan Cutters.
The Beenleigh Logan Cutters will become Ipswich Logan Cricket Inc and will field a first and second grade team, a women's side and an under-18 line-up in the 2012-13 Brisbane grade competition.
A name for the new team is yet to be confirmed but the Cutters name will be retained for a Beenleigh team to play in the Queensland Country Plunkett Cup competition alongside the Ipswich Pioneers.
Cricketers currently playing in the Ipswich division one competition as well as those playing grade cricket for other clubs will be encouraged to attend open trials for the new club from June this year.
Ipswich and West Moreton Cricket president Peter Leschke was one of the key drivers of the new team. He believes it is a key step in the retention of Ipswich's best and brightest cricketers.
"The whole movement as far as Ipswich cricket is concerned is for a 10-year-old to be able to progress through his club to eventually become a Queensland Bull while still being signed on as a Marburg Mustang," Leschke said.
"That's our goal."
Beenleigh Logan Cutters secretary Ken Wilson said his club was equally excited about the future of the new entity.
"From our end, it's all excellent," Wilson said.
"Historically the boundaries that will be put in place by this merger are the same as those that were around about 15 or 20 years ago so I think it's bizarre this hasn't happened earlier.
"There is a bunch of very good cricketers who have come through the Ipswich and West Moreton Cricket Association that are now playing with Wests, Valleys and Souths.
"If they had been offered a pathway earlier, the strength of cricketer that would be playing in this region would be phenomenal."
Leschke is under no illusions Ipswich-based players will walk into the already established grade cricket squads, suggesting between three to six players in the two grade teams in the first season would be a good result.
Ipswich and Logan will share match hosting and playing duties with the terms still under negotiation.
"We will be playing games in Ipswich," Leschke said.
"We will be scheduling games at Baxter Oval, providing we get the clubhouse up. We have also discussed having training sessions in Ipswich. If that happens, we would use Len Johnson Oval or Limestone Park facilities.
"Dauth Park (Beenleigh) is a really good facility, it has excellent training facilities, it is well lit and has turf practice nets.
"It actually has far better training facilities than what we have in Ipswich at the moment so we would be silly to snub it."
Players dropped from grade teams would return to play for their local club teams in a revamped Ipswich and Logan grade competition - see story right.
The new group is currently in the process of incorporation with a committee to be established in coming months.
WHAT IT MEANS
- Ipswich cricketers will be registered and will play with a local club as normal.
- Those wanting to play grade cricket will attend trials mid-year.
- Players winning selection will play for Ipswich Logan in the Brisbane grade competition.
- When not selected for grade teams, players will play in the Ipswich Logan Premier League for their respective clubs.
- Grade cricket matches and training will be split between Beenleigh and Ipswich venues.